20 October 2007

Yummy searching?

When Kathryn posted the information r/evolution video at Libraries Interact, I commented and half jesting, suggested (sujjested!) that I'd try using del.icio.us as a my search engine of first resort for the day.
I decided to give it a go, and I was quite happy with it for most of my searches. That being said, it seems that most of the searches I do are for sites that I know already exist. First up I added del.icio.us to my browser search bar. Internet Explorer 7, has an easy way to add a search plugin for almost any site you like.

I also set it as my default. Previously that was Google.

20 minutes later, having put that activity to the back of my mind, I did my first search looking for the LibX site and was pleasantly

surprised. LibX is a Firefox extension for contextualising the web
experience in an institution web view, and this was discussed at
the Library 2.0 Unconference recently. I'd heard about it ages ago, but it was not that easy to build your own at that stage so I guessed it was time for another visit.

Search term=libx Search engine=del.icio.us
Result=114 results
Results on the first page --> All results were relevant. And the first two were URLs that would get me precisely where I wanted to be.

There were a few other searches that day that I was very happy to be using Delicious for. Although for more esoteric topics with complexity it wasn't so great and I fell back to Google for help with those.

Of course Google does a fine job with a search like "libx" too. The first page of results are very similar to what I got with delicious. But I certainly did not need the 365,000 for libx. (0.17 seconds).

I'm not actually a del.icio.us 'user', that is I don't have an account. I prefer Connotea for various reasons. But I think I'll continue using del.icio.us in this way and see how I get on.

It may turn out that social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us will do for search/directories of the internet what Wikipedia has done for encyclopedias - leverage the huge 'workforce' of the entire web community. Will this put the human dimension back into search sites where the holy grail has been the algorithm?